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Indonesia's volcano Mount Merapi erupts

Christian Fernsby |
Indonesia's most volatile volcano is spewing ash and hot gas in a massive column into the sky.

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Mount Merapi's clouds of ash, accompanied by a rumbling sound heard kilometres away, blanketed several villages on the main island of Java.

Indonesia's Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Centre did not raise Merapi's alert status, which already was at the third-highest level since it began erupting last August.

Villagers living on Merapi's fertile slopes are being advised to stay three kilometres from the crater's mouth and should be aware of the peril of lava, the agency said.

The 2,968-metre mountain is the most active of 500 Indonesian volcanoes. It has rumbled and generated dark hot clouds since last year.

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